wouldn't you love it if . . .

teenagers could find something useful to do? part 2

I saw a headline just briefly as I clicked past the news feed. By the time I got back, the link was gone. But, I went to the laregest search engine and wrote in what I thought the headline said, “High School Students Build A Farmer’s Market In A Food Desert.” Turns out I have a pretty darn good memory, because that exact headline appeared and I read the whole story this time.

The folks in Bertie County, North Carolina are apparently just like the rest of us – “largely obese .” I would not have intended, and do not intend, the pun! Anyhow, it’s an agricultural county, which you would think means that they have access to lots of high quality, farm-fresh produce. Except they don’t. Because Bertie County grows tobacco, cotton, peanuts, and soy that are sent away. So, two teachers,  Emily Pilloton and  Matthew Miller led a class of high school students in designing and building a  farmer’s market . Their program is called Studio H, which the website describes as:

  a different kind of classroom. Studio H is a public high school “design/build” curriculum that sparks rural community development through real-world, built projects. Over the course of one calendar year, students earn high school and college credit, and are paid a summer wage to build the community project they have spent the year designing and prototyping. We design, build, and transform.

So, in this case, the students combined their design and building skills with the solution to a community problem: no access to fresh grown fruits and vegetables. The idea for the farmer’s market pavilion came from both the students and the local community. “It was something the town wanted,” explains Pilloton. The pavilion is the third project from Studio H students, and their first large-scale project.

And, because the idea came from the students and their community, the teachers noticed that the kids were more dedicated to the project. When asked about plans for next year, Emily Pilloton said that she wants the idea to come from the students, so that they can “find something that they’re going to be passionate about.”

Teenagers who would otherwise be bored all summer, high school and college credits, wages, a farmer’s market and dedication.

Rock on!